Hubris Dies Hard, Really Hard
Yes, your newsletter's name has changed again.... more on that later...
I started this post before I knew I had Covid (BC). Before I couldn’t have cared less (BCHCL) if I died. I used to swear that I had some supernatural immunity.
I never know which way my head will go when I get in a car for a long trip. Sometimes, for example when I’m looking forward to my destination, the thoughts are pleasant, fun even. Other times, like when I have too many things on my to-do list, I’m a little low, or I’m tried or not feeling well (who knew?), I go toward the dark side. Yesterday started out ok.
Coming back from a conference in Portland last weekend, the drive through the rugged Columbia River Gorge was interesting, especially where there were trees mixed in with all the rocks. There wasn’t a lot of down or up river movement on the River. It may have been opening day for some fish species or maybe there was a tournament. There had to have been 75 expensive metal fishing boats all clustered on the same reach of the river. The water was calmer than it was last Monday when there were at least that many, maybe more, windsurfers dancing on the wind, catching air and jumping whitecaps. I’m not a huge fan of the Gorge, it’s too dry, though I my mom told me I was was conceived there. I'd stayed with family and the night before I left she'd had a stuffy nose. At 88, I worry about her.
I looked across the River and saw the highway running raggedly paralell to I-84 on the Washington side. Big trucks on the Oregon side reminded me of when the Professor and I celebrated our 1-year anniversary with an open-air ride in our Jeep with Bonnie Belle, our Bassett Hound. It was really hot, I was wearing cutoffs and getting sunburned, and somewhere over there was a life-saving soft-serve ice cream place. Bonnie Belle liked that too.
Bonnie. She would have liked living on one of the ranches I passed on the way up out of the Gorge. But as I came out of the Gorge, barreling across the rolling golden plains of Hermiston and Pendleton, my mindset shifted. I got a little morose. I had a bit of a sore throat that not even a banana milkshake in Boardman could fix. I hoped I wasn’t getting mom's cold.
I love looking at those ranches where fat cattle graze and switch their tails at flies. Where they graze on long grass along the creek banks. It made me think about our old place on Beacon Light Road where I would run out across the lawn barefoot in the morning with a bowl to pick vegetables, fruit, and herbs for our breakfast.
I loved running outside in my nightie - no one could see me from the road - while the dogs ran and jumped the honeysuckle bush between the front and back yards. The place where our buyer told me she loved “everything about our place - wouldn’t change a thing!” and then tore down our historic barn and much of the mature vegetation. I don’t know how much is gone because i haven’t been able to drive past.
As I drove down into the magnificently picturesque LeGrande Valley with its broad expanses of ag land surrounding the city, I started thinking about how the Treasure Valley has developed and how our place on Beacon Light was no longer in the country. And then I thought about shortsighted local government officials who don’t stop to think about the cumulative impacts of gobbling up ag land in their rush to poop out ticky tacky houses and increase their tax base. And before I could say Baker-City-is-so-beautiful, I no longer saw ranches but future housing developments.
What started as a really nice drive ended up making me mad. And at that point was pretty sure that I had a full blown head cold. But you’ll be wanting to get to the part where I admit I was wrong. Where hubris died its painful death.
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